Randy Shaw fights to have the Tenderloin become a Historical District.
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Getting listed on National Register
IF Shaw’s nomination succeeds, the Tenderloin will become the city’s 24th historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. Notable others include the Civic Center, Telegraph Hill, Russian Hill, Alcatraz, and the Market Street Theater and Loft District, added to the National Register in 1986. It comprises only 20 buildings — 982-1112 Market, 973-1105 Market, 1 Jones and 1-35 Taylor.
The Historic Preservation Act of 1966 established the nation’s official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects worth preserving. The National Park Service, under the secretary of the Interior, administers the National Register. To be eligible, the nominee must be associated with significant people or events; be distinctive artistically or architecturally; or be able to yield important historical information. The register today has more than 80,000 listings.
Anyone can submit a nomination; the process starts with extensive documentation and submitting a list of all affected property owners to the state Office of Historic Preservation. San Francisco nominations are kicked back to the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board for a hearing. Landmarks then sends it for approval to the state Historical Resources Commission; if the state approves, the nomination goes to the National Park Service and finally, to the Keeper of the Register – currently Janet Matthews, also the Park Service associate director of cultural resources.
At least 30 days before the commission vote, the Office of Historic Preservation sends a mailing to property owners, posts a notice in local papers and holds informational meetings with owners. Those who object to the listing have to submit a notarized statement that becomes part of the nomination package commissioners vote on. Owners in a nominated district get one vote, regardless of the number of properties they own.
If 51% of the owners in a district object, the National Register listing is dead in the water. But if the Keeper determines that the district is eligible for national listing, despite owners’ objections, the district automatically gets listed on the California Register of Historical Resources. Owners who want to alter their property in a historic district might face additional Planning Department reviews — to “protect” it as a historic resource. If the alterations are significant, they may even have to pay for an environmental impact report.